The Black Faces of Classical Music Explained

The Black Faces of Classical Music* is a movement seeking to champion and bring to light the many black individuals, ensembles, initiatives, charities and organisations that are affiliated with and represent progress for Black people within the domain of classical music. *Although the movement is called “The Black Faces of Classical Music”, and will focus primarily on music, it will include people of ethnic minorities and will also look at literature and arts. “The Black Faces of Classical Music” is a play on words: Black Faces = black people. This also represents the past forgotten figures, the presently up-and-coming figures and the achievements made by black people in the industry that have perhaps not been given as much recognition in the mainstream media.

The idea came to me  in the planning stages of my blog as I was thinking of the main themes to write about. One of the most obvious topics for me was the issue of the lack of diversity within classical music. In an industry dominated by caucasians and east asians, I think its important for me as a black person to see more people. Going to concerts and seeing the main orchestras, string quartets and other ensemble I found that it was quite  difficult to spot people who looked like me. In the rare occurrence that I did spot a face of a darker complexion, I would immediately smile jump for joy.

The Black Faces of Classical music is a movement that wants to see more talented black people and people of ethnic mintories excel in the classical genre addition to the genres pertaining to black culture i.e. Reggae, Rap, RnB, Soul etc. In the 21st century, where the world is so diverse, it should be a norm to see people of different complexions and cultural backgrounds in top orchestras and ensembles. In addition, the movement endeavours to create a dialogue and online platform to draw attention to and celebrate past, present and future talent in classical music that has its roots in African/Caribbean heritage.

If you’re interested in finding out more and reading some more articles follow the links below.

My Page – The Black Faces of Classical Music

Chineke! Foundation – Europe’s first professional orchestra comprised of Black and Minority musicians

The Black British Classical Foundation

Ritz Chamber Players – Chamber Music Ensemble comprised of African-American Musicians

Kinshasa Symphony – inhabitants of Kinshasa in DRC are not formally trained but have formed the country’s only symphony orchestra



Encourage Yourself






“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

– Oscar Wilde

Particularly for student musicians, a common issue is comparing ourselves to our colleagues and peers. Of course, this is not exclusive to musicians and it occurs in all aspects of life. Maintaining focus when lots of other things are happening is difficult. I personally think that it is important to be aware of our surroundings and the people we have in our circle. However, for me, drive and determination should always come from within and not from the actions of others. Inspiration from others is always a good thing but relying on someone else’s actions as a catalyst to create one’s on action is not always effective. It is very easy to become distracted, sidetracked and driven off course especially when someone else in constantly in the subconscious. For me, concentrating on my own progress in life, music, relationships etc is far more important, relevant and useful than tracking someone else’s.

I’m a firm believer that everyone has something unique and different to offer and we should all treasure our individuality. Insecurity is always there but we have must not let it stop us from making progress. I know that I may not be as technically accomplished as other musicians but I don’t wallow in self pity. Whilst I’m working behind closed doors  to improve my weak areas, I champion my strengths. The trouble with being a musician is that we spend hours upon hours practising without recognition because no one sees the hard work we put it in. It’s the iceberg analogy. People only see the top, the success and not all the stress, anxiety and hard work underneath. Sometimes, I think how great it would be if someone were to give an applause at the end of every good practise session.  But alas, the reality is that sometimes we have to give ourselves a pat on the back.
Gone are the days of putting myself down. Inject some positivity into your life. Don’t be a doubting Thomas. Believe in yourself. Encourage yourself.



I’ve learnt to blow my own trumpet. If I don’t, no-one else will.